Pennsylvania State Rep. Natalie Mihalek has introduced House Bill 2116, to prohibit certain substances in food in the state.

Today, Rep. Mihalek, Rep. Melissa Shusterman, and Sen. Devlin Robinson are hosting a press conference on this legislation. Pennsylvania is the fourth state to consider such legislation after California, New York, and Illinois.

This time, the  National Confectioners Association reports that it is “working to clear up misconceptions about food additives and inform policymakers and consumers about the real science and policy process behind this issue.”

“Enough is enough – Pennsylvania is the latest in a series of states proposing to dismantle our national food safety system in an emotionally-driven campaign that lacks scientific backing,” said Chris Gindlesperger, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at NCA. “FDA is the only institution in America that can stop this sensationalistic agenda not based on facts and science. It’s time for FDA Commissioner Califf to wake up and get in the game.”

However, on schedule, Consumer Reports endorsed the Pennsylvania bills to help protect the state’s consumers from several harmful food dyes and additives.

consumer Reports says the state legislation banning “unsafe ingredients in food” is because of inaction by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at the federal level.

“Dangerous dyes and additives shown to cause cancer and other serious health and behavioral problems shouldn’t be allowed in our food,” said Brian Ronholm, food policy director at Consumer Reports. “Unfortunately, the FDA hasn’t taken action to protect the public despite the well-documented risks these harmful food chemicals pose to our health. By banning these toxic dyes and additives, these bills will protect Pennsylvanians and make our food safer.”

Under proposed legislation introduced by Representatives Mihalek and Shusterman, Pennsylvania would ban synthetic dyes in food: Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, and Blue 2. 

Red 3 was banned by the FDA in cosmetics and skincare products decades ago but is still allowed in food. 

Consumer Reports cited recent research that has linked these food dyes to behavioral problems in children, including inattentiveness, learning difficulties, and restlessness.

Separate legislation introduced by Representatives Mihalek and Shusterman would ban potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil (BVO), and beta hydroxycarboxylic acid (BHA), which they claim have all been linked to an increased risk of cancer and other negative health effects.

Similar legislation passed the California Assembly in 2023. 

(To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)